Guitar Techniques - - INTRO -

This month’s lick fea­tures a pop­u­lar ap­proach known as ‘Pen­ta­tonic sub­sti­tu­tion’. The open­ing sec­tion fea­tures an ascending G ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic (G-A-B-D-E) run over a G ma­jor chord. It’s the sim­plest and most ef­fec­tive Pen­ta­tonic to im­ply the chord. The sec­ond part con­tains a de­scend­ing se­quence us­ing a com­mon sub­sti­tu­tion for G ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic; D ma­jor Pen­ta­tonic (D-E-F#-A-B). Like many rock and blues gui­tarists, I pre­fer mi­nor Pen­ta­ton­ics in­stead of ma­jor Pen­ta­ton­ics when solo­ing: I’m think­ing of B mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic in­stead of D ma­jor even though they share the same notes. To use this ap­proach in any key, solo over a ma­jor chord with the mi­nor Pen­ta­tonic start­ing from the ma­jor 3rd of the ma­jor chord. Here, we’re solo­ing over G ma­jor wPiEthNBTAmTOinNoIrC Pen­ta­tonic (B-D-E-F#-A); the B note is the ma­jor 3rd above G. How­ever you view it (D ma­jor or B mi­nor Pen­ta­ton­ics over G ma­jor chord) us­ing a sub­sti­tuted scale re­sults in a fresh sound. The unique as­pect is that the F# note in D ma­jor/B mi­nor pro­vides a ma­jor 7th over the G ma­jor chord and you’ll never play a G note; the root of G ma­jor. It’s a pleas­ing way of re-us­ing scales you are al­ready fa­mil­iar with. For in­spi­ra­tion, check out gui­tarists as var­ied as Larry Carl­ton, Eric John­son, Danny Gat­ton, Shawn Lane and Joe Bona­massa. As you work through this lick look at the notes you’re play­ing, experiment and re-ap­ply this ap­proach. Con­sider that when you play a scale sub­sti­tu­tion like this, it is im­por­tant to think of it in terms of G ma­jor, end­ing (and per­haps start­ing) on notes that are found in the G chord. The com­po­nent G chord tones avail­able

Pen­ta­tonic are B and D while F# (the 7th of an im­plied Gmaj7), A (the 9th of an im­plied Gmaj9) and E (the 6th of an im­plied G6) func­tion as colour­ful ex­ten­sion tones.

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